APRIL 2018

Home staging results in better offers and less time on the market. It’s a vital part of a proven modern marketing strategy that works in harmony with a professional photographer and a dedicated realtor. In fact, it’s the difference between gaining thousands and losing thousands. It’s a lifestyle-driven approach. It highlights the best features behind your For Sale sign in a way that educates prospective buyers about how well they can live in their new home. And it’s Pam MacKinnon’s speciality. Pam is a professional home stager, paint colour consultant, and home décor shopper at Revive Home Staging in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She’s also the proud owner since launching in 2013. Pam has been guiding home owners in the Halifax Regional Municipality through the process of preparing their property for sale. “Beautiful online photos are critical when listing your home,” she explained when she spoke with Spotlight on Business in January. “Potential buyers can effortlessly bypass your home online if it doesn’t stand out. It’s all a matter of a click or a swipe. Home staging attracts more buyers by showcasing an appealing lifestyle. I’ve seen many cases where buyers weren't considering a particular area to live, but changed their mind because they loved the house and its decorative accents so much.”

By David MacDonald W hen Revive Home Staging went live in the last quarter of 2013, Pam MacKinnon had the same reservations any fledgling entrepreneur does when they’re about to take flight. “My experience wasn’t dissimilar from a lot of first-time business owners,” she explained. “I had thought about it for years and I had always wanted to risk it – but it never felt like the right time. I’ve always been artistic and creative and spatial- ly-aware but it was only after selling my first house on the day it was listed that I knew I had the talent to transform a home to attract buyers.” Since Pam’s auspicious foray into Atlantic Canada’s premier housing market nearly five years ago, Revive Home Staging has been on the rise – figuratively and literally speaking.

realtors in the HRM. But the word is spreading out into Halifax County and beyond. I’ve had realtors from East Hants, which is a rapidly growing community not far from Halifax, seek us out. We continually receive recommenda- tions and a lot of referrals from clients and realtors we’ve worked with. A lot of clients have only seen my work online and many I’ve met through networking. I also credit part of my success to fellow professional stager and mentor Joanne Abrahams of Rave Re:View Home Staging and Redesign. Since we met, she has always been an excellent resource and we celebrate each other’s accomplishments.”

If you’re familiar with Pam’s work online, you’ve likely seen her home staging at King’s Wharf.

The harbour-side Euro-styled King’s Wharf buildings on “the Dartmouth side” feature a panoramic view of penin-

“We’re doing well,” Pam said. “I mostly work with local

sular Halifax, George’s Island and McNabb’s Island,and the twin bridges –the MacKay and the Macdonald.


“It was so beautiful,” Pam recalled. “I was excited to add that project to my portfolio. The views from those high-rise condos are amazing and I focused on that in the design.” Despite regularly working with an elite clientele, Pam emphasized that Revive Home Staging does not cater to any one market. “I don’t specialize; any kind of home on the market can benefit from what we offer. I’ll often work with people who are still living in family homes, occupied space, and they’ve gone through the whole to-do list I’ve given them but they still need those extra pieces to make the home stand out. Some feedback that I receive, mostly mothers, who will say, ‘I have kids, I don’t have décor!’ and that’s where I come in and add that extra layer of luxury. I think there are some similarities with some homeowners and then some are quite different. A lot of the properties that we visit, sometimes they’ll either need a lot of décor and accessories, and other times we just need to rearrange what they have.” “I’ve always been artistic and creative and spatially-aware but it was only after selling my first house on the day it was listed that I knew I had the talent to transform a home to attract buyers.” “Vacant stagings are more in-depth projects,” Pam con- tinued. “After they’ve agreed to the price and we have a contract signed I usually have a design plan long in mind. I typically look through my inventory in these cases and pick out everything for each room, make sure it’s all coordinated and that it’s going to create a high-impact look – because you want the results to show in amazing photos. I plan the design room-by- room to make sure all the angles are right, the spacing is right, and the colours flow. Then we pack the inventory and call-in the movers, which I used to do myself!” she laughed. “They deliver all the pieces, unpack everything, and do all the heavy lifting. Then it’s time to see my vision come to life, which is still amazing to me. At the end of the project, I love being able to say, ‘This is exactly how I pictured it!’ It is incredibly rewarding and makes the long hours well worth it.”

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Pam explained that it’s also rewarding when home buyers want to buy her staging inventory design as is.

“Sometimes the people who buy the home want to buy my staging inventory, which tells me that I’ve hit the target market perfectly. I’ve had that happen more than a few times. So far, I haven’t sold any of my inventory because it can take months to build all the right pieces to cohesively style a room. It’s difficult to allow that much inventory, that ultimately builds other room styles, to be sold all at once.



“I hear people all the time, mostly mothers, who will say, ‘I have kids, I don’t have décor!’ and that’s where I come in and add that extra layer of luxury.”

As other designers can tell you, finding that perfect furni- ture piece that you know will compliment other items that you already have, is exhilarating! The only items I don’t carry are couches and beds. I have bedding, pillows, throws, coffee tables, end tables, chairs, dining sets, mirrors, lamps, artwork, and all of the accesso- ries that bring a room together. A lot of it is product-driven. If I’m putting together a design plan and I know what I have may not be quite right, or the perfect piece is already at another project, I’m going to need to shop for those certain items for a particular space and expand my inventory.” “When I decided to start the business, I took a nine segment online course from a well recognized professional home stager before anything else,” she recalled. “I wanted to know everything I needed to know to run a business: how to deal with clients, proper billing, and promoting myself. I also completed a course on writing a proper business plan at the Centre for Women in Business –which was very helpful, and the beginning to making long lasting connec- tions. We learned so much in that course, it was really great. There’s a lot involved to get into business so it’s great when there are resources like that.” Long before Pam proved her aesthetic prowess and built-up her now-famous inventory, she hit the books.

their affiliates and showcasing opportunities. I also met many people through this group and other networking groups. It’s all about exposure and word of mouth. When you meet one person you have the opportunity to meet everyone they’re associated with. A good example of that is Plugged Into Sackville, where I was a member for two years and was able to grow my network of connections. It’s exclusive to businesses in Sackville so it made me feel like more of a member of our community – we met a lot of local people and I made many new friends. Along with network- ing, industry guest speakers and team input on business growth, every year the group would focus on a local charity and for one event they hosted a sold out wine tasting event. I was asked to showcase my event staging talents which proved to impress even myself! I don’t think I’d be where I am if I didn’t become a part of that group.” “My online presence is pretty important for a number of reasons. One is out-of- town sellers. I’ve had people contact me from Western Canada and from overseas. They may or may not have a realtor, the house may or may not have been on the market for a while already, and they’ll ask me to go take a look and give them a quote. They’re always surprised and happy to find out that I don’t charge to provide a price. I don’t charge for quotes because I’m not giving them any advice. I’m just preview- ing the property and taking pictures so I can formulate a design plan. It’s up to the client to make a decision on whether they want to go forward or not – I never pressure anyone.” Please visit and follow on social media to find out more about Pam and how she creates the appeal to close the deal! In Pam’s line of work, exposure is critical. Many Revive Home Staging clients aren’t exactly local, Pam explained.

“After that, I joined the MFRC Entrepreneur’s Club, a military families’ resource centre,” Pam continued.

“I’m a military spouse so I wanted to join the group, network and learn together how to build a business.

They bring many different energies and have a lot to offer, including business development and training through



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